Saturday, 31 March 2012

Professional work completed

All the caulking and stopping is now complete, including under the cradle pads.

I asked Paul to fit the copper top on the rudder, and that is done too. Paul is going to leave the trestles and plank that he uses for easier access to the top sides so I can use them for painting, but we won't see him again until he comes to collect them. The rest of the work is down to us!

Alex and I have been going to Robinetta a fair bit, even Julian went one day! (Although he's done so much at home that saying it that way is unfair). Between us we spent another 11 days at West Mersea since my last post, resulting in the following:

The mast has had 2 coats of varnish, as has the boom, while the rudder top has had one.

The new mast collar is in place

The belaying pin rack on the foredeck had been stripped of its sadolin and varnolled

The electric pump Julian fitted in a hurry at the end of last season has been properly connected
The heads thru-hull which seized up last season has been taken home and cleaned (although not yet refitted)

The top sides have been sanded and had a coat of primer on top of the stopping.

I asked the yard about launching, and the earliest they can do it is the end of April, so she's booked to go in then. That leaves four weeks to complete the work and get the mast back in, which should be fine, given half decent weather. Of course I don't want it too warm, or she'll just dry out....

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Work progress

Last Thursday was a perfect day for painting, and today was nearly as good. I used a small paint brush, instead of a roller, so went much more slowly, but today's aim was to get the primer between the planks and on to the caulking before Paul did the stopping up. The top sides are now ready for that!

Meanwhile Paul was working beneath the water line, running the caulking then forcing it between the planks with the caulking iron.

He also lifted the copper tingles where they cross the planks, and caulked beneath them. He got me to prime the bare wood immediately, and will put on mastic and nail the tingles back when he comes tomorrow.

Only the stem and stern need caulking now, then it's on with the putty!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

New Sails

Alison went to pick up the new sails yesterday. The new No 2 is just a bit smaller than our current Jib and the new No 1 is bigger, to match the new main. We put the new gaff against the head of the sail. Good news - the gaff is long enough! Less good news:
  • the new gaff is a bit wobbly in terms of uniform straightness, as I finish smoothing it to round that should improve slightly. Don't think it will look weird from a distance.
  • The taper should probably be asymmetric to give one straight edge at the bottom - something to remember when I make the proper one, and more impetus to not put up indefinitely with the prototype
  • As Moray says on his website, a high peak leaves little room for the throat halyard.
When Moray made the saddle in 2008, he made it to his high peak design, but didn't put the loop on the saddle to take the halyard. We'll have to see on the boat if we can make this arrangement work, the peak looks very high, even higher than I was expecting.

Mark had forgotten to put the sail numbers on. He did it on the spot and Alison got to help, which was fun. I'm sure we'll get used to the colour.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Weather Helm

Chatting with Barry last night at the East Coast Dinner, we got onto the subject of weather helm. Since Random went gaff last season she is heavy to steer and tends to end up on her ear. Of course Barry put a huge mainsail on a tall mast. So what he would like to do is stiffen her up and improve the weather helm. He thought of putting some ballast under the keel, but has decided its too difficult. So he is going to add some internal ballast, which will help. Neither of us were sure how the fore and aft position of the ballast would affect weather helm.

I remembered something in Emiliano Marino's wonderful 'Sailmaker's Apprentice' and went to look it up. He says there are two main things that affect weather helm. One is the 'lead' - how far ahead of the centre of mass the centre of effort is. He says you can reduce weather helm by increasing the lead by moving the mast forwards, raking the mast forwards, making the mainsail smaller, making the bowsprit longer or flatten the mainsail. The other issue is that as the boat heels, the centre of effort is off the centre line,creating a twisting force. Obviously keeping the boat upright is the answer to this. So adding the ballast will help, and if it goes in aft then it will increase the lead slightly by bringing the centre of mass aft.

A little googling brought me to 'Sailing' by E F Knight. In Chapter III he discusses this very issue: "Sometimes a vessel's sails are not properly balanced because the ballast has not been stowed in the right place. It is obvious, for instance, that if ballast be shifted aft the weather helm will be diminished, for the stern of the boat will draw more water and so offer more lateral resistance, whereas the stem of the boat will draw less water, and will therefore be more easily blown round."

So it looks like Barry should try his new ballast towards the back.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Perfect conditions

I did not intend to go to Robinetta today, but by lunch time the weather was so perfect that it would be a shame not to make use of it. The car thermometer reported 14C, and the man working on the boat next to me had a cockpit thermometer reading 18C!

Paul must have been there on Wednesday with the new screws, because all the plank fixing is complete. I put the first layer of "gloss" varnol on, then spent the afternoon priming a perfectly dry boat. She is now silver from keel to deck. An odd look, and its impossible to tell there are actually two different primers there. Keeping track of the anti-foul line will be interesting...